ST. LOUIS (KTVI) - At an art gallery Thursday evening, a group of St. Louis-area residents gathered to listen to a public reading of a book titled, “I Am Jazz.”
Kelly Storck is a psychotherapist in private practice who helps people and families dealing with trans-gender issues.
“I Am Jazz,” said Storck, explaining the significance of the book. “It came from Wisconsin last year, when a school canceled a reading after group of concerned citizens threatened a lawsuit. So others held a public reading in same community and had an incredible turn-out.”
Kim Hutton is executive director of St. Louis-based TransParent.
“The biggest struggle,” said Hutton, “is for people who don`t understand the experience. Maybe they don`t know much about it, or there’s a lack of education. Sometimes kids are clearly misunderstood and mis-gendered frequently. Maybe some kids aren`t having great experiences at school due to lack of knowledge & education.”
Sarah Garver is with the Human Rights Campaign.
“Human Rights Campaign called for a day of action for all these ‘I Am Jazz’ readings across nation,” said Garver. “They were started after an incident in Wisconsin where an anti-LGBT hate group issued threats against a school that was planning an ‘I Am Jazz’ reading in support of a trans-gender student. After that, a concerned parent organized another reading and more than 600 people attended. This day of action was announced at Human Rights Campaign as a way of bringing everybody together to make sure all trans-gender children know the world is a loving and inclusive place.”
So what can a parent do if they suspect their child is struggling with gender issues?
Storck said, “The most important thing is know where your kid is. Follow them; let them lead. If we give them space, these kids will tell us who they are.”
Hutton added, “I would say follow your child`s lead. They know who they are, get them some support. Come to TransParent. We will help you.”
TransParent’s website is http://www.transparentstl.org/.
Elizabeth Schlesinger is also a representative of Human Rights Campaign.
“We just hope to bring more awareness to the community,” said Schlesinger. “We’ve been working with TransParent this year, a great local organization getting ready to launch national chapters. So we want to let people know about TransParent and the important work they do.”